Motor City Focus: Baus Barber

The mission of the Motor City Focus series is to showcase small businesses in the Detroit area. 

If you’re a small business and interested in getting featured, email [email protected]

A few months ago, my friend George suggested we go grab some drinks at his friend’s establishment located in downtown Rochester, Michigan. It’s a Friday night, I don’t have much else to do and the tourist in me is always looking for the next unique spot to grab cocktails. Little did I know that I would be introduced to one of the coolest businesses north of Detroit.

Welcome to BAUS!

Stepping afoot through the front door and a small set of stairs in what resembles the feel of a basement, I immediately picked up on a barbershop smell, but it wasn’t strong enough to take over the entire introduction. Right in front of me, surrounded by glass on all three sides was the barbershop where barbers were performing all kinds of men’s grooming services. 

We’ll get into that later. 

We made our way through the front of the bar and had a seat in the corner on a couch. Ambiance is the first word that came to mind as I sat down and began taking it all in when George suggested I look at the drink menu. The soft paper between two leather covers was a list of cocktails, some that were traditional staples like the Old Fashioned, and others were unique twists that I’ve never heard of before. 

I knew that I had no choice but to try something that was new! Looking through the wines, moving onto the cocktails, one caught my eye: Baus Brew

Any Screwball fans here?

If you’re not familiar, it’s a whiskey. Now, if you’re anything like me, I like my whiskey to taste like whiskey – smokey, a little bit of heat, and a touch of sweetness.

Screwball is not your traditional whiskey, as it labels itself as a peanut butter whiskey, which from my own experience, has notes of butterscotch. Screwball will be the main spirit in the Baus Brew, paired with creamy almond milk, Madcap Coffee (a Detroit favorite), vanilla and topped with dalgona – which is a fancy word for really good whipped coffee!

A few minutes later as the drinks arrived when I savored my first sip, I knew it was going to lead to trying another drink. 

Quickly finishing the Baus Brew and ordering another round, as I waited, I had a great view of the enclosed barbershop where onlookers had a chance to see the operation run. From afar, you’re almost feeling the relaxation of the barber’s clients unfold in front of you. One gentleman was blasted with menthol steam as the barber shaved his face, ensuring that every hair was eliminated without leaving behind a razor burn. In the next chair, a man with long slicked back hair that I can only envy of having, enjoyed the perfect line-up and skin fade that some barbers dread doing (I used to work in a barbershop and would notice this happening), and the third chair being taken over with the comfort and revitalization of a facial.

Yes, men get facials too, and they’re amazing! Imagine the feeling of your skin breathing.

A few moments after me being encapsulated, the barbers wrapped up their final clients, and my drink arrived just as soon as the BAUS DJ started bumping house music throughout. BAUS within a half-hour turned from a barbershop to a cocktail lounge filled with men and women enjoying their Friday night. 

I was hooked!

Detroit is jam-packed with new businesses that create a warm and unique atmosphere that reminds me of places I would stumble upon in Chicago, New York City, or Los Angeles. Atmospheric music, ambient lights, and the thumps of house music are just one of the weekend habitats I enjoy the most. 

But this isn’t LA, New York, or even Detroit for that matter. It’s the suburbs of Detroit, about 45 minutes due north, and still offers the same feeling as being surrounded by the hustle and bustle of a city on a weekend night. A timeless classic of pairing old-fashioned men’s grooming with a modern twist supplemented with eccentric cocktails and a filled room of ambient lights, sound, and a diverse group of people enjoying their night out. 

Since 2015 when Daniella and her husband Mike opened their first Baus location in Birmingham, Daniella has carefully crafted the next generation of barbershops around Detroit. Combining an old-school barbershop with a modern twist, a cocktail along side, supplemented with the thumps of house. 

There is one thing for certain in the craziness of today’s world, BAUS is sure to have you book your next haircut, and at the very least, leave you coming back to try the cocktail you didn’t have a chance to get the first time.